If we were to rephrase this question it would be, do you want to protect your teeth?
If cyclists wear a helmet to protect their head when riding a bicycle,
If hockey players wear goggles to protect their eyes,
If skaters wear knee pads, elbow pads, and a helmet to protect their bodies,
Why wouldn’t you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth?
As an adult, you only have one set of teeth, so if you were to accidentally lose one in a collision during footy practice, another isn’t going to grow back.
And it’s not just football.
Most contact sports carry a real risk of accidental collision, which can result in some serious dental injuries, such as broken jaws, cracked, chipped, or knocked-out teeth.
Wearing a mouthguard can help minimise this risk and protect your teeth in the event of an accidental collision.
What is a mouthguard?
A mouthguard is a device used to protect your teeth from injury while you play sports or any other activities that involve a high risk of impact to the face.
That being said, not all mouthguards are the same. For example, you might need a specialised mouthguard if you grind your teeth, this is called a dental splint. There are also mouthguards that have been designed to help treat sleep apnoea and snoring as well.
How can a mouthguard help?
Think of a mouthguard as a shock absorber. It has been designed to absorb impact and act as a buffer in between your teeth to lessen the force that is applied to your teeth, jaw and skull during a collision.
Without a mouthguard, such impact or direct force to the lower part of your face can travel through your jaw, teeth and upper part of your skull. This can result in some serious dental injuries, including fractured teeth, concussions, and even losing a tooth.
Which mouthguard is right for me?
There are 2 main types of mouthguards for sports:
A custom-fitted mouthguard is made based on an impression of your teeth and has been specifically designed to fit as snug as possible to the shape of your jaw. This way it is a lot more comfortable and provide sufficient thickness all around for better protection than boil and bite ones. Custom-Fitted mouthguards also last longer than the over the counter mouthguards.
2. Boil-and-bite (over-the-counter)
Over-the-counter mouthguards are self-fitted and involve immersing the mouthguard in hot water to soften it up, before biting into it for it to take on the shape of your mouth. They are not as comfortable and effective as a custom-fitted mouthguard but still provide adequate protection compared to no mouthguard at all.
3. Kids mouthguards
These days, kids sports clubs are implementing a mandatory mouthguard policy to help reduce the risk of dental injuries. Encouraging your child to wear a mouthguard can be challenging, especially if they feel it’s uncomfortable or affects their performance. Sometimes, reminding them that famous athletes use mouthguards to protect their teeth can be helpful.
How to care for your mouthguard
Caring for your mouthguard and keeping it clean is important, especially since it spends a lot of time in your mouth. Here are some simple tips on how to care for your mouthguard.
- Rinse your mouthguard with cool water or mouthwash before using it and after taking it out. Avoid using hot water as this can alter its shape.
- Regularly check for signs of damage
- Bring your mouthguard with you to any dentist appointment so they can check to make sure it’s in working condition.
- Keep your mouthguard in a hard container with ventilation when you are not using it to allow for it to dry out in between use.
- Keep your mouthguard away from pets, even if it’s in a container.